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Four Tips to Build Strong Bones

Bone health is essential for your overall well-being, but how can you stay strong for years to come? Find out how to build strong bones now!

December 19, 2016 | HF Healthy Living Team

Bone strength is very important to help prevent fractures and avoid conditions like osteoporosis later in life. People of all ages should build bone strength for optimal health over a lifetime.

Find out how you can strengthen your bones now!

Eat Potassium and Calcium

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Calcium is an essential part of a healthy diet, as it helps to keep bones strong. Be sure to add calcium-rich foods like dark-green leafy vegetables, soybeans, sardines, tofu, or milk to your diet. Check out a quick collard greens recipe to add a nutritious, tasty side dish to your next meal.

Adults, and children four years and older, should get an average of 1,000 mg of calcium per day; infants require only around 200 mg; children one to three years old need 700 mg. It can also be easy to add too much calcium to your diet. For example, one cup of milk has 300 mg of calcium and one packet of oatmeal has 350 mg.

Potassium can also help to reduce the bone loss that comes with age. Children and adults should get at least 4,700 mg of potassium a day. Luckily, it can be found in many foods. Avocados are very high in potassium (975 mg each), along with beans (2,688 mg per cup), bananas (422 mg each), sweet potatoes (448 mg per cup), and more.

Don’t Forget About Vitamin D

You also need plenty of vitamin D to support bone strength and density. Natural sunlight is a great way to get vitamin D, but limit your exposure to 20–25 minutes a day. Add foods like mushrooms, fatty fish, fortified milk, and supplements to help meet the 600 IU per day requirement.

However, 42 percent of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, so it may be necessary to take a higher dose. Ask your doctor to check both your vitamin D2 and D3 levels to be sure. Not getting enough vitamin D3 can lead to osteoporosis and can also contribute to diabetes, hypertension, depression, obesity, fibromyalgia, and even Alzheimer’s.

Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol and Coffee

Smoking affects many aspects of your health, and bone density is no exception. It can have a serious effect on bone loss, and studies show it increases your risk of osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The benefits of quitting smoking are endless, so there’s no better time than now to make a plan to help you ditch the habit.

Be sure to also limit your coffee and alcohol intake. Heavy alcohol and coffee intake interferes with Vitamin D in the body and can lead to bone loss. Try to limit your coffee consumption to no more than two a day and alcohol to no more than one a day for women, two for men.

Do Weight-Bearing Activities

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Eating right and taking the right supplements are not the only ways to build and maintain bone mass. Exercise can help you have healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis. Those who exercise regularly tend to have greater peak bone strength than those who don’t.

Weight-bearing activities like walking, jogging, weight training, climbing stairs, dancing, and hiking are just a few options you can add to your daily routine. Try some moves to make your lower body stronger here.

Adding activities like these will ultimately improve your coordination, balance, and strength, which can help prevent fractures and other medical conditions in the future.


© 2016 HF Management Services, LLC.

Healthfirst is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Healthfirst group of affiliated companies.

This health information or program is for educational purposes only and not intended to treat, diagnose, or act as a substitute for medical advice from your provider. Consult your healthcare provider and always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions.

“Vitamins and Minerals,” National Institutes of Health. September 24, 2017.

“New Recommended Daily Amounts of Calcium and Vitamin D,” Medline Plus. Accessed November 22, 2016.

“Handout on Health: Osteoporosis,” National Institutes of Health. Accessed November 23, 2016.

“Calcium,” National Institutes of Health. November 23, 2016.

“Prevalence and Correlates of Vitamin D Deficiency in US Adults,” Nutrition Journal. Accessed November 23, 2016.

“Vitamin D Deficiency,” National Institutes of Health. Accessed November 28, 2016.

“Exercise for Bone Health,” National Institutes of Health. Accessed November 28, 2016.

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